Electoral Act: PDP mandates own lawmakers to begin amendment process
• Hopeful supreme court will reverse self on Imo
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mandated its members in the National Assembly to commence the process of amending the nation’s electoral laws in a way that will facilitate free, fair and credible elections in the country.
Rising from the 88th meeting of its National Executive Committee ( NEC), on Monday in Abuja, the party also expressed concern about what it said were landlines created by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in its effort to make Nigeria a one-party state.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting also announced that the party has set up a committee to review the 2019 elections to prepare it to properly agitate for a better electoral system in the country.
According to the communique, the main opposition party will not change its name as presently being demanded by some politicians, as it noted that the name PDP remained the best political brand in the country.
The communique read: “The Peoples Democratic Party rose from its 88th NEC meeting with a resolution mandating the Senators and members of House of Rep to begin immediately the amendment process of all our electoral laws in such a way that we engender free, fair and credible electoral process in the country.
“The party also resolved that in line with our guidelines, in all electoral offices whether party offices or electoral offices, that in line with our gender-sensitive nature, women should have at least 35% of offices that will be contested for.
“The party also expressed concerns about landmines created by the All Progressive Congress to turn our country into a one-party state. Our party also says that no democracy can thrive in a situation where the legislative arm and the judiciary are caged.
“Our party believes that there are signs of dictatorship in our nation today and as such, our members in the national assembly were further charged to ensure that they use on their legislative instrument to ensure that our country is not reduced to a dictatorship.
“A committee has been constituted for the review of 2019 election and what transpired in other to be able to help in the agitation for electoral reforms.
“We are reconciling in Edo state and the party has met with critical stakeholders in Edo State to ensure that they bury their hatchets where there are issues.
“The party commended its governors as the best governors in our country today. Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party are more functional than governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress and as such, our party expressed happiness with our governors that in view of the challenges they face during their elections, all through the tribunal, to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court, they still have the time to ensure that they work in line with the manifesto of our party.
“The party insists that the PDP brand is still the best in the political firmament of our nation and as such, those canvassing for the change of name for our party should forget it because we remain The Peoples Democratic Party. ”
Earlier during the opening session of the meeting, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, explained the necessity for a second NEC meeting in a space of 10 days, saying that the country was inching towards dictatorship under President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling APC.
He said: “We have had to call you back within a space of ten days due to the exigencies of the time. The landmines laid by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, against democracy in our beloved country are exploding and the consequences are confronting us.
“When President Muhammadu Buhari and his party began the process of muzzling the other arms of government, our party cried out and alerted the nation and indeed the international community of the brewing dictatorship.
“Here we are watching helplessly as the legislature and the Judiciary are put right in the pocket of the executive. An anomaly in a democracy that makes nonsense of the separation of power that is beautifully enshrined in the rule book to check the excesses of each arm of the government.
“At the NEC meeting ten days ago, we briefed you about the judicial abracadabra where the apex court in the land, the Supreme Court delivered a bizarre judgement on Imo State where it took our PDP’s governorship victory and handed it over to the APC candidate that came fourth.
“Unfortunately for the Justices, the arithmetic of the judgement refused to add up. Instead, the apex court boxed itself into a tight corner where it created over a 100,000 ghost voters unknown to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which it awarded to the APC to enable its candidate on fourth position to win.
“We are using this medium to reiterate our earlier call on the Supreme to tell the World where and how it got the unaccredited ghost votes it awarded to APC.”
At the meeting, Governor Aminu Tambwal of Sokoto State was unanimously chosen as the new chairman of the PDP Governors Forum to replace the outgoing governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson.
The newly elected Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambwal, has alleged a deliberate attempt to oust governors elected under the party with a view to creating a one-party state.
In his remark at the meeting, Tambuwal had alleged a deliberate attempt to seize the PDP control state with a view to making Nigeria a one-party state.
The Governor, who did say how or by who, said that the PDP Governors will provide the necessary support to enable Emeka Ihedioha to retrieve his post as Imo State governor if the Supreme Court decides to review the case.
Addressing the meeting, Mr Peter Obi, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, urged leaders of the party unite in defending democracy.
He said: “We have a duty as a party as you can see the way things are, we have to do whatever is possible to ensure that we contribute in building a better nation
“PDP remains a party…our dear country today and our commitment at coming together is inevitable to make that work.
“Mine is to appeal to all of us. This is time for us to come together and am sure chairman you’re doing your best.
“Let’s work together. Our future, the future of this country depends on PDP. The future of this party is very bright and our commitment will go a long way,”
The Senate Minority Leader, Sen Enyinnaya Abaribe, in his remarks, said that the National Assembly would do the needful on the amendment of the Electoral Act to address present electoral challenges.
He added: “We have taken note of what you have said about our working very hard on the Electoral reforms…I can assure you that the National Assembly will do the needful with regard to these legislations that are pending.”
The meeting was attended by several state governors, deputy governors, members of the national leadership of the party and other party chieftains.